Worms make a huge contribution to composting. They help break down decomposing organic matter and in the process neutralise soil pH. This happens when they release a thick, black paste called castings.
If you don’t have the space for a compost heap, set up a worm farm to turn food scraps into fertiliser. You can buy a ready-made farm or make one DIY in a few easy steps.
A worm farm is a tiered system of containers with a lid. It needs ventilation, drainage and an outlet tap for directly draining the nutrient-rich liquid.
TIP Buy composting worms from garden centres.
Soak a bedding block in water until it expands and achieves a soil-like consistency then spread it over a layer of cardboard in the top section of the farm, add about 1000 worms and cover with hessian. TIP Set up the farm in a shady spot.
Feed worms shredded food scraps, paper and peelings. To add a section, make paper bridges between levels for the worms to climb, removing castings from the lower section when they leave. Let worms eat 80% of their food scraps before you add more.
Make worm tea by diluting the liquid from the tap with water in a 1:10 ratio to make organic fertiliser. Apply the worm tea to plants every three to four weeks. Always leave the tap open with a bucket underneath.